Finding the Right Fit
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside."
The philosophy of Western culture has changed in the last 50 years from that of pluralism to syncretism. The term syncretism is simply the blending together of ideas. When it comes to religion, you can choose a little bit from Christianity, New Ageism, Hinduism, Protestant doctrine, Catholic tradition, and mix them all together to form your own religion. Choosing a religion is like buying a pair of shoes . . . pick the god that fits best.
In Erwin Lutzer's book entitled Christ Among Other Gods, he describes his exposure to the Parliament of World Religions, which met in Chicago in 1993. Six thousand delegates attended this convention under the major theme "Unite or Perish." It was a call for all the religions of the world to find common ground in their beliefs about God. The Parliament of World Religions actually held seminars to help people get over the thought that one religion could be superior to another—an idea that they considered "the crucial obstacle" to religious unity!
At this conference Dr. Lutzer made an interesting observation. In many of the seven hundred workshops offered, Christ was favorably admired, quoted, and compared to other religious teachers; however, He was merely one enlightened man among many. Though He was respected, He was not worshiped as the one true God.
This is the so-called wisdom of the world: That there is no right way to God, and no way to properly decipher truth from falsehood. Hence, we are told to find common ground and then agree to disagree. Even though no one is exclusively right, everyone has something valuable to bring to the table.
Paul's young apprentice, Timothy, was struggling with similar problems in his own generation as men were turning their minds from Scripture to other means of finding God. Consequently, Paul's challenge to Timothy during that era has much bearing on our dilemma today. Paul's advice is in 2 Timothy 3:13-15:
But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
In other words, Paul is saying, "Hey, Christian! Of course the world is going to hate you! They're going to think you're foolish, and closed-minded, and intolerant; that's what they thought of Christ as well! But you have been given the truth in Scripture and are being delivered by it. You have no reason to become deceived."
While everyone tries to find a religion that fits, we have a relationship that has fashioned us . . . for everlasting life.
Prayer Point: Take a few moments to examine your heart before God: have you been feeding on God's wisdom, or the world's. Have your co-workers or fellow students influenced you to be more open-minded about "other gods"? Pray that Christ will give you the power and strength to share His gospel with others, even at the risk of being considered foolish.
Extra Refreshment: Read all of 2 Timothy 3, as Paul further encourages Timothy to remain faithful to God, even in a world of deceitful men.
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